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Appointment of national MPs to European Parliament would breach the Treaty

Date

10 Dec 2009

Sections

EU Priorities 2020

"If the European Council (10-11 December) agrees a draft protocol on the appointment of French national MPs to the European Parliament, the ALDE Group will insist on the holding of a new Convention", claimed Andrew Duff MEP (UK Lib Dems), ALDE spokesman on constitutional affairs.

EU leaders this week will be deciding whether to accept a draft protocol, proposed by the incoming Spanish Presidency, for nominating 18 additional MEPs foreseen under the Lisbon Treaty. Article 3(c) would allow some of them to be appointed from the ranks of national parliamentarians as was the case prior to 1979. The protocol must be ratified by all 27 Member States as well as the formal opinion of the European Parliament.

While other States will take steps to satisfy EU treaty law that Members of the European Parliament must be directly elected by universal suffrage, France is claiming that it cannot do so. A letter, dated 30th November, from Prime Minister Fillon to the President of the French National Assembly proposes simply to send two national deputies to the European Parliament without meeting the conditions of the Lisbon treaty (Articles 10(2) & 14(3) TEU and the 1976 Act on Direct Elections).

Andrew Duff stated unequivocally: "If the European Council breaches the primary law of the EU in this peremptory way it will undermine the democratic legitimacy of the European Parliament. French deputies are elected to the Palais Bourbon and not to Brussels/Strasbourg."

Duff, who is also Parliament's rapporteur on a uniform electoral procedure, said: "Parliament has the right to be consulted on the opening of any Intergovernmental Conference which may be needed to discuss the draft protocol. We also have the right to insist on the holding of a Convention to prepare the IGC (Article 48(3) TEU). Such a flagrant attempt by France, with the apparent backing of Spain, to jeopardise the representative capability of the European Parliament must be resisted strongly.

Editor's notes

The following 18 seats will be added to the 736 seats filled in the June EP elections: Bulgaria 1; Netherlands 1; Spain 4; Austria 2; France 2; Poland 1; Italy 1; Slovenia 1; Latvia 1; Sweden 2; Malta 1; United Kingdom 1.

Article 10(2) Treaty of Lisbon

"Citizens are directly represented at Union level in the European Parliament."

Article 14(3) Treaty of Lisbon

"The members of the European Parliament shall be elected for a term of five years by direct universal suffrage in a free and secret ballot."

For more information, please contact:
Neil Corlett: + 32-2-284 20 77 or + 32-478-78 22 84
e-mail: neil.corlett@europarl.europa.eu
Yannick Laude: +32-2-284 31 69 or + 32-495-22 78 37

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